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VGCC to host Afternoon Tea class

Vance-Granville Community College will offer a course on the “afternoon tea” party, the tradition that is enjoying a renaissance as fine hotels, inns and tea rooms across the country give guests an opportunity to retreat from the hurried pace of their lives.

The course, called “Let’s Have a Tea Party,” will meet on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 until 4 p.m., starting March 29. The final class and “graduation” ceremony is an actual afternoon tea party planned and facilitated by the students at Magnolia Manor Plantation in Warrenton on April 19, thanks to the generosity of owners Sheila and Larry Carver.

The instructor will be Dr. B.K. McCloud of Oxford, a 2012 graduate of the course and historian for the Old North State Tea Society (ONSTS). McCloud has a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and retired as a full professor of education at North Carolina Central University. She is also a member of the Granville County Historical Society and a docent at the Granville County Museum.

After completing the tea class at VGCC under the instruction of Constance Lue of Oxford, McCloud has continued her education in the world of tea by attending meetings of the ONSTS, frequenting tea rooms, reading, building her personal tea library, and attending classes. In 2013, she attended the International World Tea Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2015, McCloud participated in a tea master-class with international tea expert Jane Pettigrew in London, under the auspices of the U.K. Tea Council. That same year, she received her certification as a Tea and Etiquette Consultant after studying with Bruce and Shelley Richardson in Lexington, Kentucky.

McCloud’s students will learn about the history of tea; the difference between an afternoon tea party, a royal tea party and “High Tea”; and the proper way to make the best pot of tea. They will have tastings of a wide variety of teas (black, white, green, Oolongs and herbal) at each class meeting. Beyond the specifics of teas, students will consider qualities of grace, civility and etiquette. Participants might use what they learn to hold their own tea parties for children as well as their adult friends. Afternoon Tea also can be a way to raise funds for churches and clubs.

The cost of the course is $60 for four class sessions, plus $20 for the final tea at Magnolia Manor. Students will receive a valuable resource manual with recipes for tea time, tips on flower arranging, and a section on etiquette.

The deadline to register for this class is March 26. Prospective students can register online at www.vgcc.edu/ped or in person at Main Campus, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, contact Gail Clark at (252) 738-3385 or [email protected].

VGCC installs first officers for SkillsUSA chapter

The Vance-Granville Community College chapter of the national SkillsUSA organization, established only a few months ago, now has its first official student leaders.

On Feb. 29, four students signed their contracts and took their oaths as chapter officers. They included President Benjamin Layton of Kittrell (a Criminal Justice Technology student), Secretary/Treasurer Ashley Allen of Henderson (Office Administration), Reporter Harold Todd of Oxford (Criminal Justice Technology) and Parliamentarian Daniel Johnson of Louisburg (Paralegal Technology).

Performing the installation was Steve Hargrove, who chairs the Public Services department at VGCC and serves as lead advisor for the chapter. VGCC Paralegal Technology program head Antoinette Dickens, Office Administration program head Christal Thomas, Office Administration instructor Candy Parker, Medical Office Administration instructor Hollie Garrett and Business & Applied Technologies administrative assistant Kimberly Elliott also serve as advisors. Other faculty members are also helping to support and advise various committees for the organization.

At the installation ceremony, Hargrove played a video message that was recorded specifically for the historic occasion by Peyton Holland, the executive director of SkillsUSA North Carolina.

In closing remarks, VGCC Business Technologies department chair Spring Tucker thanked the students for taking on their new leadership roles.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA chapters help students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations excel. Founded in 1965 as V.I.C.A. (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America), SkillsUSA has served nearly 12 million members in its 50-year history. Today, the organization has more than 360,000 students and instructors as members nationwide.

Among the benefits to VGCC students are opportunities to participate in competitions at the local, state and national levels, which are designed by industry experts and showcase the nation’s top career and technical education students. The chapter also provides students with opportunities for leadership, professional development, community service and social activities.

VGCC will soon send a delegation to the 50th annual SkillsUSA North Carolina State Leadership and Skills Conference, which will be held in Greensboro on April 19-21. Over 2,500 students, instructors, industry members, and volunteers will be on hand for the largest showcase of career and technical education in the state.

For more information on SkillsUSA at VGCC, contact Public Services department chair Steve Hargrove at [email protected] or (252) 738-3467.

Tobacco Trust Fund awards grant to VGCC

The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded a $25,000 grant to Vance-Granville Community College to support students in a pair of training programs.

The grant, for a project entitled “Cultivating and Growing Agricultural Communities,” will help cover the cost of tuition and other fees for eligible students in the “NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship” and “Heavy Equipment Operator” courses offered by VGCC. Grant funding will also support instructional staff, marketing and supplies related to the programs.

VGCC has offered the Agricultural Entrepreneurship program at various locations, most recently at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market and the Granville County Expo & Convention Center. Heavy Equipment Operator training is held at VGCC’s Warren County Campus.

While this is the first grant of its kind awarded to VGCC, the college has previously received grants from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission as part of “Project Skill-UP.” As in those previous grants, the commission’s goal is to help individuals and communities adversely affected by the decline of tobacco-related employment in the region.

“We appreciate that the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission chose to support our agricultural efforts to help adults in our service area to gain new skills and in some cases, to start new careers or businesses,” said Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s coordinator of Human Resources Development.

The seven-week NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship course is designed specifically to help local farmers and budding entrepreneurs succeed in developing profitable, environmentally-sound small farms or agricultural businesses.

One of VGCC’s newest programs, Heavy Equipment Operator training takes approximately 13 weeks to complete. During the course, students gain a general understanding of the requirements necessary to operate equipment such as a motor grader, a four-wheel drive loader and backhoe, which are used both in construction and in agriculture.

Students receiving grant funding must meet certain eligibility requirements and must be residents of Vance, Granville, Franklin or Warren counties. Each student can receive up to $250.

For more information on receiving assistance and the opportunities available at VGCC, contact Kyle Burwell at [email protected] or (252) 738-3276.

For more information on the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, visit www.tobaccotrustfund.org.